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More Milkweed Updates: Schedules and Audiobooks

September 28, 2011 at 7:28 pm

I'll get back to the usual inane ramblings about the price of helium and the smell of Gene Simmons after this.

But, in the meantime, there have been some exciting developments, so I wanted to give another update on the Milkweed books.

Schedules

The mass market paperback of Bitter Seeds should be out in the May/June timeframe next year (2012).  What's cool about this (in addition to the wicked cover art) is that the mmpb edition will also contain the Milkweed short story "What Doctor Gottlieb Saw."   This standalone story fits between the prologue and first chapter of the book, and covers an event referred to only in passing in the novel, so it seemed quite natural to append it to the paperback edition.  I'm pretty happy about this. 

The hardcover and ebook editions of the sequel, The Coldest War, should hit stores the following month, around June/July 2012.  (July, according to the very nifty advertisement that Tor recently ran in the Bubonicon program book.)  As I mentioned recently, the book has been through editorial revisions and copyedits.  The next stage will be to review the galley proofs, and then that's it!  But see below for more...

Milkweed #3, Necessary Evil, is scheduled for April 2013.  I already have editorial guidelines for the revisions; my editor and I discussed the book this week, in addition to earlier conversations.  I hope to have the revised draft on my editor's desk by Thanksgiving.

Audiobooks

I'm delighted  to announce that Audible.com will be producing an audiobook version of The Coldest War, just as with Bitter Seeds.  Kevin Pariseau will again be giving voice to Marsh, Will, Gretel, Klaus, and the rest.  (And when I say "...the rest," I mean Kevin has a particularly challenging job ahead of him this time around.... Heh heh heh.)  Audible.com already has the manuscript and will start production soon.

And that's where it gets weird, exciting, and nerve-wracking all at the same time:  The audiobook edition of The Coldest War will be released on December 20, 2011—in advance of the hardcover and ebook editions.

Obviously it's a little unusual to release the audiobook edition prior to the print editions of a novel.  But this book's journey to publication has ever been anything but typical.  We decided to try this experiment as a way to help bridge the 2+ year gap between the paper publications of Milkweed #1 and #2.  The idea came about after a conversation between my fabulous agent and the great people at Audible, who have been enthusiastic supporters of my work.   We tossed it around a bit, and then presented the idea to Tor (my publisher for the paper and ebook editions of the Milkweed books).  The consensus is we're engaged in an unusual but worthwhile experiment.

Catalog Copy

In case anybody's interested, here's the catalog copy for the second Milkweed book.  It may appear differently in the actual catalog, but this is the original text.  Consider it a non-spoilery capsule summary of The Coldest War.

Someone is killing Britain's warlocks.

Twenty-two years after the Second World War, a precarious balance of power maintains the peace between Great Britain and the USSR.  For decades, Britain's warlocks have been all that stands between the British Empire and the Soviet Union—a vast domain stretchin from the Pacific Ocean to the shores of the English Channel.  But each death is another blot blow [oops... corrected 16 Oct 11] to Britain's national security.

Meanwhile, a brother and sister escape from a top-secret research facility deep behind the Iron Curtain.  Once subjects of a twisted Nazi experiment to imbue ordinary people with superhuman abilities, then prisoners of war in the immense Soviet research effort to reverse-engineer the Nazi technology, they head for England.

Because that's where retired spy Raybould Marsh lives.  And Gretel, the mad seer, has plans for him.

As Marsh is once again drawn into the world of Milkweed, he discovers that Britain's darkest acts didn't end with the war.  And while he strives to protect queen and country, he is forced to confront his own willingness to accept victory at any cost.

Thanks for listening.

Comments

EEGiorgi September 28, 2011 at 11:18 pm
Yay, great news! I'll keep an eye on the release dates and cross post on my blog. You know... so I'll feel the brush with fame! :)
Alex Brown September 28, 2011 at 11:44 pm
I am so full of squee right now I'm about to burst. Makes the wait for summer 2012 feel a little less daunting. Congrats and hugs and awesome and win!
Nicolas September 29, 2011 at 2:09 am
Great news :) It's nice to see things moving forward after all the troubles you previously encountered.
Ian September 29, 2011 at 9:35 am
Thanks, everybody :) I'm happy to see things moving forward, too. My editor, Claire, is really really good.
Steve Halter September 29, 2011 at 1:46 pm
That's just all kinds of cool. I've never actually gotten an audio book but I may just have to give it a try.
Ian September 29, 2011 at 2:04 pm
Thanks, Steve! I admit I got quite a kick out of listening to the first book. Fun to hear somebody else reading it.
Tengland September 29, 2011 at 9:21 pm
"a vast domain stretchin from the Pacific Ocean to the shores of Great Britain ..." Yup, 'n' it's fulla nasty folks you ever want to meet, all waitin' ta warp yer minds and send ya screamin' into the sea. Good to be reminded of how big the Soviet Union was, seeing as how all those years have passed since it all went away. OK, snark stuff aside, good to see and hear everything's on track. Movie contracts next up.
Mehdi September 30, 2011 at 5:29 am
Yeah!!!! Great news, it will be my reading, oups, my listening of Christmas. Adding the short story in the new edition of "Bitter Seeds" is a great idea too, i'm even more eager to buy it! The summary is really interesting, i love the idea of a "flash forward" of 22 years after the war, i can't wait... Anyway, be sure you still have a reader in Paris Mehdi
DMS September 30, 2011 at 7:35 am
Yay, progress! That is an interesting experiment. Perhaps I should plan another lengthy road trip.
Ian September 30, 2011 at 9:38 am
Good to be reminded of how big the Soviet Union was, seeing as how all those years have passed since it all went away. It's weird to think that the breakup of the USSR began 20 years ago. Over half my life-- and yet, at the same time, I remember going to bed at night during the Reagan years absolutely convinced I wouldn't wake up in the morning owing to a nuclear holocaust. Anyway, be sure you still have a reader in Paris Thank you so much, Mehdi! I _really_ hope the book proves worthy of your enthusiasm :) Perhaps I should plan another lengthy road trip. Better start small. Maybe a trip to the grocery store, in case the book proves too horrible for that many hours in the car...
David September 30, 2011 at 6:02 pm
Please continue the art style from the hardcover of Bitter Seeds for the hardcover of the coldest war. It's so beautiful and I'd hate to see that style replaced by the art style of the mass market versions.
Ian September 30, 2011 at 6:25 pm
Hi, David! And thanks for the note. I love the Palencar cover, too-- so much so that I have it framed in my house (skulls and all). Actually I love both versions of the cover art-- it's all on my walls at home. :) I should mention that I don't have any control, or really any influence, over what goes on the covers of my books. The cover art for The Coldest War that I posted here is the cover for the upcoming hardcover edition. It was a deliberate decision to change the art style on the books, and to do it in such a way that the cover style of the mmpb of Bitter Seeds matched that of the hardcover of CW, which drops the following month. When I first learned of the decision to change the style away from the Palencar cover for Book 1, I was disappointed, too, just as you are. But... There are very good reasons for changing the cover art, and I'm actually on board with the decision. I've talked a bit about the reasons for changing the cover art here and here. (Just please ignore the publication timeline given in that first link :) It all boils down to trying to give the Milkweed books a better chance to succeed. And I'm all for that. Thanks again for your interest. I truly hope you enjoy the story, regardless of what's on the cover.
Susan Loyal October 1, 2011 at 4:17 pm
Goody! Now I know what to ask my husband, local Guardian of the Audible, to get me for Christmas. (Isn't it nice to know you're solving other people's minor domestic problems?)
david October 1, 2011 at 5:52 pm
Ian, Thank you so much for the response! I loved Bitter Seeds and I'll read anything you publish even if the covers aren't to my satisfaction. Gretel is so amazing and I can't wait to see what sinister plots she has cooking up. Would you ever consider asking the publishers to request the book be shelved in a different area in bookstores? Science fiction is usually smaller and less frequented than fantasy or regular fiction. Perhaps more people would see it in fantasy or elsewhere? Thanks again!
Ian October 2, 2011 at 12:52 pm
(Isn't it nice to know you're solving other people's minor domestic problems? I am but a humble servant. I live to serve. It's what I do. It's... who I am. Also, Hooray for Audible! I hope you enjoy it. Thanks for your support, Susan :)
Ian October 2, 2011 at 12:55 pm
Hi David, You're quite welcome. Thank you for your interest and enthusiasm. I can't tell you how valuable that is to a fledgling author. Gretel is so amazing and I can't wait to see what sinister plots she has cooking up. All will be revealed ;-) Her grand plan takes center stage in The Coldest War... Would you ever consider asking the publishers to request the book be shelved in a different area in bookstores? Science fiction is usually smaller and less frequented than fantasy or regular fiction. Perhaps more people would see it in fantasy or elsewhere? That's a really good question. There had been a fair amount of speculation about where Bitter Seeds would end up in various bookstores. (And, in fact, this is related to the other problem of finding a marketing strategy for the books!) The problem is that this series just doesn't fit into a single well-defined box. Some independent bookstores have put it in SF, others in historical fiction, and I've even heard of it shelved with the thriller section (the swastika is often a marketing trigger for thriller, ala John LeCarre, Len Deighton, or Dennis Wheatley). That said, I'm not sure how my publisher discusses that with bookstores and booksellers. That's an interesting question-- it never occurred to me to ask about it!
Sara G. October 4, 2011 at 8:08 pm
I'm so excited for you, me and the discerning reading/listening public! Dates! I'm jumping up and down and clapping!!! Coldest War on bookshelves will be a lovely slightly belated birthday present for you. I am quite, quite torn. Do I satisfy my impatience and listen to the audiobook in December? Or do I wait for the book so I can have a delicious page-turning, curling up w/a 'must finish' book experience? The catalogue copy is so tantalizing...regardless of what I decide intellectually, I may be physically incapable of waiting.
Ian October 5, 2011 at 9:43 am
Thank you, very much, Sara. I can only hope the book (in whatever form it takes) lives up to your expectations and enthusiasm. I'm nervous about it-- I feel as though expectations have been amped up for this book by all the drama surrounding the continual delays and now the unconventional release schedule. I like Coldest War because it's (more or less; sort of) the book I envisioned when I started the project. But it just happened that I needed to write an entire novel to set it up, and an entire novel to bring it all to a conclusion.
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